January 12th, 2018

AR, Garand, M1A — Six Rules for Gas Gun Reloading

Reloading for Service Rifles
SFC Lance Dement as featured in CMP’s First Shot Online.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a great series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post covers key factors to consider when loading ammunition for Match Rifles and Service Rifles, with a particular focus on self-loading “gas guns”. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

We offer some “cardinal rules” to help new gas-gun handloaders with safety and efficiency. These address both Match Rifle and Service Rifle versions of the AR15, M1 Garand, M1A, and M110. However, they can also improve safe reloading for many other auto-loaders such as M1 Carbines, FALs, SIGs, etc. The author distilled these principles many years ago to help focus on the essential aspects of these rifles.

RULE ONE: Service Rifles Are Not Benchrest Rifles
Gas-guns require a relatively loose fit between ammunition and chamber (vs. bolt actions) for safe, smooth operation. Many techniques, such as neck sizing and keeping cartridge headspace quite tight, are popular in the extreme bolt gun accuracy realm. However, they are of little value with Service Rifles, and some could even be hazardous. Before adopting a specialized technique, seriously consider whether it is appropriate and beneficial in a gas-gun.

RULE TWO: Never Compromise Safety to Obtain Accuracy
Example: If choosing a brand of great, but ultra-sensitive match primers offers possibly better accuracy at the risk of slam-fires in your design of rifle, don’t do it! You are issued exactly two eyes and ten fingers (best-case scenario). Risking them trying to squeeze 0.25 MOA better accuracy out of an M1A, etc. simply isn’t worth it.

Reloading for Service Rifles

RULE THREE: Tailor the Precision to Your Individual Skill and Your Rifle’s Potential
This has been addressed here before, but bears repeating for newcomers. If you are struggling to break out of the Marksman Class, or using a CMP M1 “As-Issued,” then laboriously turning the necks of your 600-yard brass is a waste of time. Your scores will improve much faster by practicing or dry-firing. On the other hand, if the reigning champions anxiously check your scores each time you fire an event, a little neck-turning might not be so far-fetched.

Verifying Load Improvements — Accuracy hand-loading involves a wide variety of techniques, ranging from basic to rather precise. Carefully select those which offer a good return on investment for your time and labor. In doubt? Do a classic pilot study. Prepare ammo for at least three or four ten-shot groups with your new technique, vs. the same with your standard ammo. Then, pick a calm day and test the ammo as carefully as possible at its full distance (e.g. 200, 300, or 600 yards) to verify a significant improvement. A little testing can save much labor!

RULE FOUR: Be Your Own Efficiency Expert
Serious Service Rifle shooters generally think of ammunition in terms of thousands of rounds, not “boxes”, or even “hundreds”. Analyze, and WRITE DOWN each step in your reloading process. Count the number of times each case is handled. Then, see if any operations can be dropped or changed without reducing safety or accuracy. Eliminating just two operations saves 2000 steps per 1000 rounds loaded. Conversely, carefully consider any measurable benefits before adding a step to your routine.

RULE FIVE: In Searching for Greater Accuracy with Efficiency, Look for System Changes
For example, instead of marking your 300-yard rounds individually to differentiate them from your 200-yard ammo, would a simple change in primers work? If accuracy is maintained, using brass-colored primers for 200 and silver for 300 provides an indelible indicator and eliminates a step! Similarly, rather than spending hours selecting GI surplus brass for weight and neck uniformity, consider splurging on some known, high-quality imported match brass for your 600-yard loads. Results should be excellent, time is saved, and given limited shooting at 600 yards, brass life should be long.

RULE SIX: Check All Your Primers Before Packaging Your Loaded Ammo
This seems simple and even intuitive. However, many slam-fires (which were much more common when M1s and M1As were the standard) are due, at least in part, to “high” primers. Primers should be seated below flush with the case head. The USAMU has addressed this at length in a previous column, but each round should be checked for properly-seated primers before they are packaged for use.

Reloading for Service Rifles

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July 26th, 2017

New Lake City .223 Rem Brass on Sale at Midsouth

Midsouth Lake City .223 Brass sale bulk
Great deal on NEW Lake City .223 Rem Brass at Midsouth Shooters Supply. This is new production, unfired brass in bulk packaging.

Need a large supply of .223 Rem brass for your next varmint safari or 3-Gun match? Midsouth has a great deal right now on bulk-pack, NEW (unfired) Lake City .223 Rem (5.56x45mm) cartridge brass. The 500-count bag works out to a mere 15.6 cents per case, a fourth what some premium .223 brass costs. That’s great value.

Midsouth Lake City .223 Brass sale bulk

.223 Rem Still Shines for Varmint and Target Work
Even with all the “new and improved” cartridges (such as the .204 Ruger and 22 Nosler, the plain jane .223 Remington remains an excellent varmint cartridge, and the mainstay of service rifle competition. Here’s an example of how well the .223 Rem can perform in a good factory gun. The Tikka T3 offers excellent performance in this chambering. Tikka guarantees 1 MOA (or better) at 100 meters.

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February 19th, 2017

Zediker Examines Long Range Shooting with AR-Platform Rifles

AR15 ar-15 long range

Looking to shoot an AR-platform rifle out past 500 yards? Then you should read two articles by AR guru Glen Zediker. Author of The New Competitive AR-15 and The Competitive AR15 Builders Guide, Zediker is an expert when it comes to AR-platform rifles. Glen believes ARs have excellent long-range capability, provided they are built to high standards, with good barrels. Glen says: “a properly configured AR-15 is easily capable of good performance at 500+ yards. Good performance means it can hit a 1-foot-square target all the time. Competitive shooters can cut that standard in nearly half (the X-Ring on an MR1 600-yard NRA High Power Rifle target is 6 inches, and high X-counts are commonplace among more skilled shooters).”

Published in the Cheaper than Dirt Shooter’s Log, Zediker’s pair of articles cover the history and upgrading of the AR-15. Part One reviews the AR’s development as an accurate firearm, tracing its evolution from a Vietnam-era combat weapon to what is now a favored target rifle of High Power competitors. READ PART ONE.

Long Range AR AR-15 Glen Zediker Cheaper than dirt

Part Two discusses the specifics that make an AR accurate at 500 yards and beyond. Zediker talks about barrel configuration (profile and twist rate), bullet selection, floating handguards, and proper mounting of optics or iron sights. READ PART TWO.

Long Rang AR AR-15 Glen Zediker Cheaper than dirt

Here are some highlights from Long-Range AR-15 Part TWO:

Barrel Twist Rate
To stabilize anything longer than a 68- or 69-grain bullet, the barrel twist rate must be — at minimum– 1-in-8. Twist rates reflect how far the bullet travels along the lands or rifling to make one complete revolution. So, 1-in-8 (or 1-8, 1:8) means “one turn in eight inches.” I think it’s better to go a little faster in twist. There is nothing wrong with a 1:7 twist. The 90-grain bullets require a 1:6.5, and that is getting on the quick side. If you want to shoot Sierra 77s or equivalent, and certainly anything longer, 1:8 is necessary. By the way, it is bullet length, not weight, which constitutes the necessary twist rate to launch a stable bullet.

Optics Mounting
Correct optical sight positioning can be a challenge. With a flattop upper, I need a good inch additional forward extension at the muzzle side of the upper for the sight mount bases to avoid holding my head “back” to get the optimal view through the scope. A longer rail piece is necessary for my builds as a result.

Buttstock Length and Adjustment
An adjustable buttstock is valuable, and even more valuable if it’s well-designed. Mostly, a standard stock is too short, and the cheek area sits too low. Adding length helps a lot by itself. There are assemblies that replace the standard buttplate to allow for length and, usually, height and rotation adjustments for the buttpad. An elevation-adjustable cheekpiece is a big help to attain a solid position.

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October 26th, 2016

Great Sale on Sierra Bullets at Precision Reloading

Precision Reloading Sierra Matchking Tipped TMK SMK bullets sale

Right now Precision Reloading is running a BIG SALE on Sierra MatchKing (MK) and Tipped MatchKing (TMK) Bullets. These bullets are being offered at deep discounts, with very low prices (some close to wholesale). Precision Reloading says you can save up to $37.00 on 500-ct boxes. Here are just a few examples of the dozens of types of Sierra Bullets on Sale.

Sierra 30 Cal, 200gr HPBT MK, 100 for $35.57 (marked down from $40.29)
Sierra 7mm, 183gr HPBT MK, 100 for $38.37 (marked down from $43.39) (Great new bullet)
Sierra 6.5mm, 142gr HPBT MK, 500 for $167.74 (marked down from $187.69)
Sierra 6.5 mm, 130gr TMK, 100 for $30.58 (marked down from $34.59)
Sierra 6mm, 95gr TMK, 500 for $138.75 (marked down from $156.89)
Sierra 22 Cal, 80gr HPBT MK, 500 for $117.08 (marked down from $132.39)
Sierra 22 Cal 77gr TMK, 100 for $26.19 (marked down from $29.69)

NOTE: This Sierra Bullets Sale runs through October 31, 2016, so you’ll want to place your order before the end of the month.

Sierra offers the widest selection of .30-Caliber match bullets in the world today, producing bullets suited to nearly every form of long-range competition. Along with classic HPBT and HP MatchKings, Sierra now offers the new Tipped MatchKing (TMK) line, which feature an acetal resin tip. The major advantage of adding a tip to the bullet is the reduction of drag, producing a more favorable ballistic coefficient. Another benefit is improved feeding in magazine-fed firearms.

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May 29th, 2016

Barrel Length and Velocity in a .223 Rem — Barrel Cut-Down Test

.223 Rem Cut-Down Test barrel UMC m855

We often receive questions from varmint hunters and AR shooters regarding barrel length. They want to know how much velocity they will loose if they run a shorter barrel in their .223-Rem rifle. Our friends at Rifleshooter.com did a test that provides some surprising answers to that question.

With barrels, one always wonders “Can a little more length provide a meaningful velocity gain?” To help answer that question, Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting the barrel of a .223 Rem rifle from 26″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .223 Rem/5.56 ammo were chron’d at each barrel length.

READ RifleShooter.com 5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 25.34 FPS Per Inch (.223 Rem Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. The average speed loss of the four types of .223/5.56 ammo, with a 9.5″ shortening of barrel length, was 240.75 fps total (from start to finish). That works out to an average loss of 25.34 fps per inch. (See inch-by-inch data HERE.)

5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Speed Test 26″ to 16.5″ Start FPS at 26″ End FPS at 16.5″ Total Loss Average Loss Per Inch
UMC .223 55gr 3182* 2968 214 22.5 FPS
Federal M193 55gr 3431 3187 244 25.7 FPS
Win m855 62gr 3280 2992 288 30.3 FPS
Blk Hills .223 68gr 2849 2632 217 22.8 FPS

*There may have been an error. The 25″ velocity was higher at 3221 fps.

Rifleshooter.com observed: “Cutting the barrel from 26″ to 16.5″ resulted in a velocity reduction of 214 ft/sec with the UMC 223 55-grain cartridge, 244 ft/sec with the Federal M-193 cartridge, 288 ft/sec with the Winchester M855 cartridge and 217 ft/sec with the Back Hills 223 68-grain match cartridge.”

How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel-mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 45.7° F.”

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers.

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .223/5.56 test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″ we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .223 Rem start length. Velocity loss may be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
May 10th, 2016

Tips for Reclaiming .223 Rem Range Brass

Bryce Towsley has authored an informative article on Reclaiming .223 Rem Brass. Writing for Shooting Illustrated Online, Towsley confesses: “I’m a brass horder…. I end every shooting match on my hands and knees. If the rest of the competitors want to litter the range with their discarded cases, I see it as my civic duty to clean up the mess.” If you burn through a lot of .223 Rem ammo on the varmint fields or in multi-gun matches, we suggest you read Towsley’s article.

Towsley advises that you need to be cautious with range pick-up brass: “Range brass is full of dirt, dust, sand and debris that can be damaging to loading dies, as well as causing other problems.” So, range pick-up brass must be cleaned and then sorted carefully. Towsley explains that you should toss brass that is badly dented, and you have to make sure to remove the primer pocket crimp in military brass. This can be done with a crimp reamer or a swaging tool such as the Dillon Super Swage 600. The latter works well, but Towsley cautions: “For the swager to work properly, you must sort the cases by brand and lot, and then readjust the swager for each new lot.”

Trimming Quantities of Brass
Before loading, “reclaimed” range brass should, of course, be full-length sized and you should trim all the brass to the same length. “Cases that are too long can cause all kinds of problems”, explains Towsley.

We envy the system Towsley uses to trim brass. He has a Dillon Rapid Trim 1200B set up on the top of a single-stage press: “You simply insert a case into the shell holder and raise the ram to trim it instantly. The process is so fast, it almost feels like cheating.” The Rapid Trim is a very neat gadget — it even has an attachment for a vacuum hose to remove the cuttings. The photo at right shows a 1200B installed on a Dillon progressive press.

We definitely recommend you read Bryce Towsley’s Reclaiming Range Brass Article from start to finish. The article offers useful advice that will help you reload any rifle cartridge — not just .223 Rem range brass. Towsley also showcases many good labor-saving devices that can speed up and simplify the process of bulk rifle cartridge reloading.

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July 1st, 2015

AR Brass Catcher — Great Accessory for Under Ten Bucks

Caldwell ar16 ar-15 ar brass casing bag net catcher

If you shoot an AR-platform rifle, you could probably use one of these gadgets. A brass-catcher keeps your brass in good shape and saves you the hassle of picking up fired cases. Moreover, nearby shooters no longer have to fear being pelted with your hot brass.

Caldwell ar16 ar-15 ar brass casing bag net catcher

(more…)

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January 29th, 2015

USAMU Reloading Tip — Prepping GI 5.56 Brass for Match Use

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Yesterday’s “Handloading Hump Day” post covered preparation of once-fired 5.56x45mm brass. This article, the first in a 3-part series, has many useful tips. If you shoot a rifle chambered in .223 Rem or 5.56x45mm, this article is worth reading. And visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

This week, Handloading Hump-Day will answer a special request from several competitive shooters in Alaska. They asked about procedures for morphing once-fired GI 5.56mm brass into accurate match brass for NRA High Power Rifle use. The USAMU has used virgin Lake City (LC) 5.56 brass to win National Championships and set National Records for many years. In this 3-part series, we’ll share techniques proven to wring match-winning accuracy from combat-grade brass.

Preparing Once-Fired GI 5.56 Brass for Reloading (Part 1 of 3)
Assuming our readers will be getting brass once-fired as received from surplus dealers, the following steps can help process the low-cost raw material into reliably accurate components.

1. Clean the Brass
First, clean the brass of any dirt/mud/debris, if applicable. Depending on the brass’s condition, washing it in a soap solution followed by a thorough rinsing may help. [This step also extends the life of the tumbling media.] Approaches range from low-tech, using gallon jugs 1/2 full of water/dish soap plus brass and shaking vigorously, to more high-tech, expensive and time-consuming methods.

2. Wet-Tumbling Options (Be Sure to Dry the Brass)
When applying the final cleaning/polish, some use tumblers with liquid cleaning media and stainless steel pins for a brilliant shine inside and out, while others take the traditional vibratory tumbler/ground media approach. Degree of case shine is purely personal preference, but the key issue is simple cleanliness to avoid scratching ones’ dies.

If a liquid cleaner is used, be SURE to dry the cases thoroughly to preclude corrosion inside. One method is to dump the wet brass into an old pillow case, then tilt it left/right so the cases re-orient themselves while shifting from corner to corner. Several repetitions, pausing at each corner until water stops draining, will remove most water. They can then be left to air-dry on a towel, or can be dried in a warm (150° F-200° F max) oven for a few minutes to speed evaporation.

Shown below are Lake City cases after cleaning with Stainless Media (STM). Note: STM Case cleaning was done by a third party, not the USAMU, which does not endorse any particular cleaning method.

3. Inspect Every Case
Once dry, inspect each case for significant deformation (i.e., someone stepped on it), damaged mouths/necks and case head/rim damage. Some rifles’ ejectors actually dig small chunks of brass out of the case head — obviously, not ideal for precision shooting. Similarly, some extractors can bend the case rims so badly that distortion is visible when spinning them in one’s fingers. These can be used for plinking, but our match brass should have straight, undamaged rims.

Dented case mouths are common, and these can easily be rounded using a conical, tapered tool, [such as a .223 expander mandrel. A dummy 7.62 or .30-06 cartridge with a FMJ spitzer can also work.] If most of your brass is of one headstamp, this is a good time to cull out any odd cases.

4. Check the Primers Before Decapping
Your clean, dry and inspected brass is now ready for full-length sizing, decapping and re-priming. Historically, primer crimps on GI brass have caused some head-scratching (and vile language) among handloaders. Our next installment will detail efficient, easy and practical methods to remove primer crimp, plus other useful handloading tips. Until next week, Good Shooting!

NOTE: The USAMU Handloading (HL) Shop does not RE-load fired 5.56 brass. We use virgin LC brass with our chosen primer already staked in place. However, our staff has extensive personal experience reloading GI brass for competition, which will supplement the Shop’s customary steps. In handloading, as in life, there are many ways to accomplish any given task. Our suggestions are note presented as the “only way,” by any means. Time for loading/practicing is always at a premium. Readers who have more efficient, alternative methods that maintain top accuracy are invited to share them here.

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May 9th, 2014

How Hard is Your Brass? 5.56 and .223 Rem Base Hardness Tests

Lake City vs. Lapua — which brass is harder? And how about Remington vs. Winchester? Is the widely-held belief that Win brass is harder than Rem brass really true? To help settle these burning questions (raised in a Forum thread), Forum member Catshooter recently sampled the base hardness of four brands of .223/5.56 brass. He employed a very impressive tool for the task — a $2,500 Ames Hardness Gauge. Catshooter explained that his Ames Guage “is FAA certified and approved for testing aircraft engine parts — it does NOT get any better than that!”

Catshooter measured four cases picked at random from batches of Lake City (LC) 2008 (5.56x45mm), Lapua .223 Rem Match, Winchester .223 Rem, and Remington R-P .223 Rem.

Lake City Lapua Match Winchester Remington

Photo Shows Ames Gauge Base Hardness Measurement on Lake City Brass
.223 Remington Lake City Brass Hardness Lapua Winchester 5.56x45

Photo Show Ames Gauge Base Hardness Measurement on Winchester Brass
.223 Remington Lake City Brass Hardness Lapua Winchester 5.56x45

TEST RESULTS
Using Rockwell hardness standards (.062″x100kg, Rockwell “B”), the brass measured as follows:

LC 2008 = 96

Lapua 223 Match = 86

Winchester 223 = 69

Remington “R-P” = 49

Summary of Test Results
Catshooter writes: “For all you guys that have believed that Winchester cases were tougher than Remington — you are vindicated, they are a lot tougher! However, Lake City and Lapua are ‘the pick of the litter'”. Catshooter notes that both Lake City and Lapua are significantly harder than either Winchester and Remington .223 brass. That’s something that we’ve observed empirically (Lapua and LC stand up better to stout loads), but now we have some hard numbers to back that up. Hats off to Catshooter for settling the hardness debate with his Ames Hardness Gauge.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 10 Comments »
March 5th, 2011

Winchester Recalls .223 Rem 64gr Power-Point Ammunition

Win Ammo .223 RecallWinchester recently issued an important product safety notice, recalling certain lots of Winchester 64gr Power-Point .223 Rem ammo. According to The Firearm Blog, “catastrophic failures destroyed a number of law enforcement AR15 type rifles.” That Blog cited LEO agency notices describing guns that suffered cracked uppers and bowed lowers after firing Winchester’s 64gr Power-Point .223 Rem ammo. Rifles built by three different manufacturers (Colt, Bushmaster, and Stag Arms), all sustained similar damage. Below is Winchester’s Recall Notice dated 3/1/2011:

PRODUCT WARNING AND RECALL NOTICE
WINCHESTER® RANGER® LAW ENFORCEMENT 223 Remington 64 Grain Power-Point®

Olin Corporation, through its Winchester Division, is recalling six (6) lots of its RANGER® 223 Remington 64 Grain Power-Point® (PP) centerfire rifle ammunition (Symbol Number RA223R2).

Lot Numbers (last four characters): DK01, DK11, DK21, DK31, DK41, and DK51

Through extensive evaluation Winchester has determined the above lots of RANGER® Law Enforcement ammunition may contain incorrect propellant. Incorrect propellant in this ammunition may cause firearm damage, rendering the firearm inoperable, and subject the shooter or bystanders to a risk of serious personal injury when fired.

DO NOT USE WINCHESTER® RANGER® 223 REMINGTON 64 GRAIN POWER-POINT® AMMUNITION THAT HAS A LOT NUMBER ENDING IN DK01, DK11, DK21, DK31, DK41 or DK51. The ammunition Lot Number is ink stamped inside the right tuck flap of the 20-round carton, as indicated here:

To determine if your ammunition is subject to this notice, review the Lot Number. If the last four characters of the Lot Number are DK01, DK11, DK21, DK31, DK41 or DK51 immediately discontinue use and contact Winchester toll-free at 866-423-5224 to arrange for replacement ammunition and free UPS pick-up of the recalled ammunition.

This notice applies only to RANGER® 223 Remington 64 Grain Power-Point® centerfire rifle ammunition with lot numbers ending in DK01, DK11, DK21, DK31, DK41, and DK51. Other Symbol Numbers or Lot Numbers are not subject to this recall.

If you have any questions concerning this RANGER® Law Enforcement ammunition recall please call toll-free 866-423-5224, write to Winchester (600 Powder Mill Road, East Alton, IL 62024 Attn: RA223R2 Recall), or visit our website at www.winchester.com.

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April 20th, 2010

Lake City .223 Rem Brass on Sale at Graf’s This Week

Need “value-priced” .223 Rem Brass? Then give Graf & Sons a call. Graf’s has NEW Lake City Mil-Spec .223 Rem (5.56) unprimed brass on sale for just $19.99 per 100 cases. That’s right… just twenty bucks per hundred. But this sale price expires Friday 4/23/2010 at midnight. Large quantities of sale brass were on hand at this price as of 12:00 noon CST on 4/21. To order, visit Grafs.com, or call 1-800-531-2666.

Many shooters feel that Lake City makes some of the best .223 Rem (5.56×45) brass available. And it’s hard to beat Graf’s price for this LC 2009 headstamp brass (item FDU223). This is a good opportunity for varminters and service rifle shooters to lay in a large supply of quality brass.

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August 31st, 2009

New 5.56x30mm Cartridge from India

The Indian Army has introduced a new Modern Sub-Machinegun Carbine (MSMC) that shoots an interesting new round, a shortened version of the 5.56×45 (.223 Remington). According to The Firearm Blog, “The [MSMC] chambers a round developed in India called the 5.56×30mm. This round is sometimes referred to as the ‘5.56×30mm INSAS’ after the first gun to chambered the round, the INSAS Carbine.”

This is an interesting cartridge, reminiscent of the 5.56×30 MARS cartridge originally developed by COLT for its Mini Assault Rifle System (MARS) project (see below). The MARS gun never went into full production, and the 5.56×30 cartridge remained an orphan. But it was an interesting cartridge. As designed, using just 16.8 grains of commercial ball powder, Colt’s 5.56×30 cartridge could launch a 55gr FMJ bullet at 2600 fps.

Colt 5.56x30 MARS

We are intrigued by the new Indian 5.56x30mm cartridge because it would seem very well-suited for varminting, either in .22-caliber form, or necked down to .20 caliber or even .17 caliber. We already have a similar cartridge, of course, the 221 Fireball, but right now there is only one manufacturer of 17 and 221 Fireball brass, namely Remington.

221 Remington Fireball

If the Indian 5.56x30mm cartridge is produced in large quantities, perhaps we could see budget-priced 5.56x30mm brass exported for sale in the American market. That would be a boon for high-volume varminters. Also, if the Indian 5.56x30mm is standardized internationally, perhaps one of the European brass manufacturers (Lapua, Norma, RUAG, Wolf?) would consider producing it as an alternative to the 221 Fireball. We can only wish that a 20-cal or 17-cal version of the Indian 5.56x30mm cartridge might be produced some day as inexpensive factory ammo. Many varminters are now looking at centerfire options to the 17 HMR cartridge, as 17 HMR ammo prices continue to climb. A 50-round box of 17 HMR can now cost $14.00 or more.

Permalink New Product, News 7 Comments »
August 11th, 2009

Good Deal on Prvi Partisan .223 Rem Brass

Grafs.com is currently offering Prvi Partisan .223 Remington brass at very attractive prices. 100 cases cost just $22.99, and that includes shipping (but not the $4.50/order handling charge). Bulk orders of 500 or 1000 cases are even less. This is boxer brass, fully reloadable. The PRVI brass is very good brass for the price. We have tried it in the Prvi Partison loaded ammo as well as in reloads. The brass holds pressure well and is more weight-consistent than some brands of domestic .223 brass. This is a good choice for large-quantity varmint loads.

Prvi Partisan .223 Rem Brass

NOTE: Some lots of Prvi Partisan milsurp 5.56×45 loaded ammo have arrived in the US with crimped primer pockets. When reloaded, those cases may require prep with a primer pocket swager to ease primer seating. The unloaded, new .223 Rem brass sold by Graf & Sons is UNPRIMED and has not been crimped, so you should have no difficulty seating primers.

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